The Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin is a research library and archive focused on the history of German-speaking Jews. Its extensive library, archival, and art collections comprise one of the most significant repositories of primary source material and scholarship on the centuries of Jewish life in Central Europe before the Holocaust.
LBI is committed to preserving and expanding access to this rich body of material, and it has digitized millions of pages of documents, books, and artworks from its collections—from rare Renaissance-era books to the personal correspondence of luminaries and ordinary people alike. LBI also promotes the study and understanding of German-Jewish history through its public programs, exhibitions, and support for scholars.
The Leo Baeck Institute was founded in 1955 by leading German-Jewish émigré intellectuals including Martin Buber, Max Grunewald, Hannah Arendt and Robert Weltsch, who were determined to preserve the vibrant cultural heritage of German-speaking Jewry that was nearly destroyed in the Holocaust. They named the Institute for Rabbi Leo Baeck, the last leader of Germany’s Jewish Community under the Nazi regime, and appointed him as the Institute’s first President, overseeing independent centers in New York, London, and Jerusalem. LBI – New York is a founding partner of the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan and maintains an office in Berlin and a branch of its archives at the Jewish Museum Berlin.